Lessons In Truth - Lesson 11 - Annotation 1
What are spiritual gifts? What is the greatest gift?
1. Spiritual gifts are all the ideas (qualities or attributes) of Divine Mind that are our divine inheritance. They cover every need we can ever have. They are the spiritual principles, laws of God, the spiritual patterns, that we are to recognize, understand, evaluate, and use to bring good into visible form in our world. In reality we can conceive of nothing of which there is not a supply in God (His gifts) to meet that need.
As our consciousness becomes aware of the ideas or laws of Divine Mind (the gifts of God) they are quickened as faculties within our own mind. This quickening results in definite activity of our capacities and talents. There have been times when man thought of these talents as something special, given only to certain individuals. However, we now know that God's gifts (ideas) are equally available to all.
When we are unaware that God is the cause of our desire for good, or if we are ignorant of the manner in which we are to claim this good, we very often seek it fruitlessly in various outer ways. Even if we do obtain visible things that seem to us to be the fulfillment of a longing or a desire, we remain unsatisfied because we have not understood nor grasped the truly great gifts that God is offering to us.
According to Webster's dictionary a gift is: "Anything given; a present; a special talent; aptitude; faculty; genius; knack; a capacity that is distinctive." Divine ideas with all their potential are "gifts" to us for the simple reason that they can neither be purchased nor obtained through physical effort (work). They can only be accepted and used. The effort (work) we put forth in connection with accepting and using these gifts is related to "working out our salvation." It is the work of our soul to learn the nature and value of these divine ideas and all that is necessary to further prepare our consciousness to accept, develop, and put the ideas or gifts into practice. Part of this preparation is the cleansing of the soul by denial, and the calling forth of the gifts or ideas by affirmation. When the Fillmores began their work they emphasized that it was to be practical Christianity, and this is why we are taught to put into expression our gifts of life, love, joy, power, faith, imagination, and so forth by using them.
"I have a standard of faith which is true and logical, and I must conform to it in my teaching without compromise. We call it Practical Christianity, and under this name we shall henceforth do our work" (The Story of Unity 104).
By "practical Christianity" Charles Fillmore meant the principles or laws of God, as taught by Jesus Christ, expressed in daily living. We may say that our mission is to "express" the qualities (ideas) that make up our divine heritage, and this is done by actual use" of the laws back of these ideas. In the book Prosperity 45 and 46, Charles Fillmore emphasizes "use" when he says,
"There is a guiding intelligence always present that we can lay hold of and make our own. It is ours. It belongs to us and it is our birthright both to know it and to use it."
On page 82 of the same book we read,
"Increase come by the operation of a universal law and our part is to keep that law. Use the talent of life and it will expand wonderfully" (Prosperity 82).
Intelligence and life are both gifts of God just as are all of the divine ideas, as we have already mentioned. It is only in their "use" that we prove we have accepted the gifts and made them part of every phase of our life.
Our own divine nature, called spiritual man, the Christ, the I AM, is our greatest gift, because it is the gift of God Himself.
Spiritual man -- our true nature -- is the image of the nature of God and we have the power to bring it forth after His likeness. This greatest gift is the ideal man in Divine Mind, which as the image-likeness of God, embraces all divine ideas. Until we see ourselves as spiritual beings, with balanced spiritual abilities and capacities, we shall never be truly satisfied. By recognizing this greatest Gift and turning often in prayer to God, inviting its unfoldment in us, we learn in an orderly way how we are to develop all the gifts (ideas).
According to our stage of soul unfoldment we shall evolve the divine qualities in the way that is right for us at that time. For example, there may be a period in our iife, in a certain set of circumstances, where we need to exercise faith and patience primarily; at another period, love and understanding may require first place. Perhaps we meet with situations that call forth our ingenuity, thus requiring the exercise of creative imagination. At other times we find that we call forth appreciation, good judgment, gratitude. Whatever is required of "our several abilities" as Paul calls them, at any given time, we are actually bringing into manifestation the Gifts that make up the one great Gift -- God Himself in us as a living Presence. Just as the acorn contains within itself all of the nature (image) of the oak tree, which will come forth as roots, branches, bark, leaves, so we shall bring forth the likeness of God's nature as our "several abilities."
The greatest Gift to each of us is God's own Spirit which makes all mankind brothers, and we can say truthfully,
We are all one in Spirit.
Preceding Entry: Where must our expectation of good be placed?
Following Entry: Do our difficulties sometimes result in good to us?